Dental Care Tips for Pregnant Women
Dental Care Tips for Pregnant Women
Many expectant mothers are extremely cautious when preparing to have a baby. They already have so much to think about during pregnancy, how to eat healthy, how to remain stress free, how to ensure growth of your baby, etc. However, one area that definitely shouldn’t go unnoticed is your oral health.
- Brush twice and floss once everyday: If you’re already brushing twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste and cleaning between your teeth once a day, keep up the good work!
If not, there’s no better time to start, as poor habits during pregnancy have been associated with premature delivery, intrauterine growth restriction, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and low birth weight of baby. Talk to your dentist about your routine and if you should make any changes.
- Regular gum/ Periodontal check-up is extremely important: With pregnancy come changes in your body, emotions and mouth. As many as half of all women develop pregnancy gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease that is most common between the second and eighth months of pregnancy. It usually goes away after childbirth. Hormones make your gums more easily irritated by plaque and can cause gums to be red, tender, sore and bleed. To avoid visit your dentist regularly for cleaning.
- Regular dental visits are less harmful than not visiting the dentist at all: Yes! It is safe during your second trimester and early third trimester to visit the dentist. If your last visit to the dentist was more than 6 months ago or if you notice any changes in your mouth, schedule an appointment. Always tell your dentist that you are pregnant(or you think you are pregnant) and of any change in the medications you take or if you have received any special advice from your gynecologist.
- Loosening of teeth should during pregnancy should be monitored closely. Losing a tooth is not a normal part of pregnancy, and if you do, you most likely already had an existing dental problem which aggravated during pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones can loosen the ligaments and bones that keep your teeth in place. But this usually goes away after pregnancy. It is better to talk to your dentist if you feel like your teeth are moving when they shouldn’t.
- High Risk of Tooth Decay: Morning sickness increases the amount of acid in your mouth, which could weaken your tooth enamel. Increased carbohydrates in your diet can be an invitation to tooth decay. Poor dental habits or lack of dental hygiene due to exhaustion, a more sensitive gag reflex, and tender gums can increase the risk of tooth decay.
- During this time when anything (and possibly everything) may make you gag, take it slow and figure out what works for you. Changing the flavor of toothpaste, using a brush with a smaller head, or brushing at different times of the day might help. The important thing is to keep up your daily routine because you’re slightly more at risk for cavities.
- If you have morning sickness and are vomiting frequently, don’t brush right away; you could be scrubbing stomach acids on your enamel. Instead, rinse with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water to prevent stomach acid from attacking your teeth.
- Eat nutritious calcium rich balanced diet to make sure your baby’s forming teeth stay healthy: Your baby’s teeth begin to develop between the third and sixth months of pregnancy, and eating well can help them form correctly. Get plenty of nutrients – including vitamins A, C, and D, protein, calcium and phosphorous. To reduce the risk of neural tube defects, ask your gynecologist for folic acid supplements, and eat foods high in folate. While you’re at it, drink plenty of water with fluoride to keep your own teeth strong.
- Dental X-Rays should be delayed if possible: These can be delayed until after your pregnancy, but can be completed safely if there’s a possibility of an infection. Dental infections could pose a bigger risk than x-rays to the fetus. Your dentist or hygienist will cover you with a protective apron that minimizes exposure to the abdomen and cover your throat with a protective thyroid collar to protect the thyroid from radiation.
- It is absolutely safe to have any Dental Procedure up till second trimester : The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists agrees that procedures like cavity fillings and crowns are safe and important to have to prevent potential infection. It may be more uncomfortable to sit in a dental chair the later you are in pregnancy, so schedule dental work in your second trimester, if possible. Cosmetic / Elective procedures, like whitening, veneers should wait until after baby arrives. If you need an emergency procedure, visit your dentist on the best plan for the health of you and your baby.
Follow these dental care tips for pregnant women and remain safe. Wish you happy parenting ahead.